In a difficult job, Emmert takes charge

NCAA president Mark Emmert, placed in a difficult situation, was forceful, but not bombastic, showing the type of leadership that his organization has been criticized for lacking in the past, A7.Excerpts from NCAA officials' statements, A7.
NCAA president Mark Emmert, placed in a difficult situation, was forceful, but not bombastic, showing the type of leadership that his organization has been criticized for lacking in the past, A7.Excerpts from NCAA officials' statements, A7.
Posted: July 25, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - NCAA president Mark Emmert was forceful, but not bombastic. He truly was in control, showing leadership and decisiveness as well as remorse in discussing the severe sanctions levied against Penn State's football program on Monday.

After announcing the sanctions as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, including a $60 million fine, reduction in scholarships, and a four-year bowl ban, Emmert answered questions during a news conference at NCAA headquarters.

Some questioned the severity of the punishment and the quick process in which a decision was made.

Emmert didn't flinch, and whether people agreed or disagreed with him, he showed the type of leadership that his organization has been criticized for lacking in the past.

"This is an unprecedented, painful chapter in the history of intercollegiate athletics," the 59-year-old Emmert said.

In a businesslike manner, he continued.

"I want to be really clear: There is nothing in this situation that anybody should feel good about. This is an awful place to be."

No one could doubt the decisiveness.

"Does this send a message?" said Ed Ray, NCAA executive committee chairman and Oregon State president, who then answered his own question: "The message is that the president and chancellors are in charge."

The NCAA has long been portrayed, whether fairly or not, as an organization with too many rules and an abundance of schools running roughshod.

Emmert has tried to change that image since becoming NCAA president in October 2010, after serving as president of the University of Washington, his alma mater.

"We had a meeting of presidents and chancellors a year ago that Mark very wisely called together, and the group of presidents and chancellors said we have had enough," Ray said. "This has to stop. We have to reassert our responsibilities and charge to oversee intercollegiate athletics."

The NCAA acted swiftly. Emmert seemed to understand that there would be criticism of the quick decision, but he had a strong conviction that the NCAA had taken the right route.

"Following the extensive work of the criminal investigators and the Freeh Report, the information was there and there was no compelling reason to delay the process," Emmert said.

Especially when so many people have been scarred.

"Look at the situation of the victims and their families, and you have to always go back to that. What predicament did they find themselves in, what circumstances did they have to suffer through?" Emmert said.

"You look at the university now and the actions imposed today, and this was the right action on our part, and we feel confident we are doing the right things. But nobody feels good about this."


Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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